20 Top Marketing Mistakes Trades and Manufacturers make

When I talk to people in business there is often a mis-understanding or a mystery around this subject of what marketing actually is. Some say its advertising, some about social media, others say things like ‘it’s your Branding’.

All of these are correct in their way, but let’s start to get clearer on what marketing is.

Marketing is about 2 basic things.

  1. Getting new business
  2. Keeping existing business and making the most of it.

It is specifically about how you get the market to come to you.

So onto my top 20 Mistakes that I see in my day to day work.


  1. No Marketing person! 

You need to have some people doing marketing for you. They may be full time or part time or you may allocate someone in the team and dedicate a relevant amount of their time to this. Alternatively marketing services can readily be bought in nowadays from freelancers or specialist companies.

  1. There are 4 main types of marketers and each type requires a different type of person so you need to think about what type of marketer is right for you.

i). Digital content marketer, these are database builders. They write and find relevant content to engage your target audience.

ii). Relationship marketer, these are the relationship builders. The type of person who is good with people to do networking and face to face contact.

iii). Direct marketer, to use the databases and create letters, emails, brochures etc.

iv). Advertiser marketer, to produce compelling adverts. Use the A.I.D.A principle that’s Attract, Interest, Desire, Action.

When recruiting starting out go for Junior rather than senior type people. Start off with a doer not a manager, you won’t need a manager until you have a team of marketers to manage.

  1. Get 2 or 3 strategies up and running before trying to do everything.
  2. Look for the low hanging fruit, the easy place to start.
  3. Focus on them not you!

When most companies start marketing they often project their messages about themselves. How they are better, what they can do and they completely miss the point.

Marketing messages need to attract your target audience and they are thinking,


There are three parts to this Facts, Advantages and Benefits, get over the message, ‘What that means to you’ of ‘so that’

Write your marketing as if you are talking to one person, as if it’s to your best customer and  think , how would ‘John’  react to that?


  1. Wrong Pricing

Price is always an important part of your offering but rather than making price the focus and the one thing, include options in your offer, package things up so that the customer doesn’t just need to choose between you and another quote but he can choose another option from you.

Add value rather than discount wherever possible. So give something away in addition that you can buy cheaply put that has a perceived high value to the customer.

How to Price. When writing a quote get the pricing in early and use the rest of the page showing added advantages and benefits that make your particular offer more valuable.

What to say when someone rings in to ask the price. This happens so often in many businesses and I hear the response its £xxx, the called then says thanks I’ll get back to you.

The Magic Line. Use this verbatim word for word and train all your staff to get this consistently.

Thank you for your call. Just so that I can help you the best, would be ok if I ask you a couple of questions? When they say yes then follow with a couple of value adding questions that are relevant to your particular business.


  1. No Numbers

Marketing is maths (Book, Buying Customers, by Brad Sugars). If the numbers work its good marketing. The bad news is that 80% of marketing fails so how do you find what’s working for your business.

The answer is Measure the results and test lots of options of messages and combinations. What are you conversion % rates of enquiries to orders? Are you even asking, ’where did you find out about us’, is there a difference between morning and afternoon etc. etc.

The one important this is to get good analysis of the numbers, so who is the best person in your business to do this and is it being done regularly on a weekly basis.

I recommend a book ‘Buying Customers’ by Brad Sugars’ this really gets you to understand how the numbers are important.


  1. Just One Strategy

Having just one marketing strategy means that when this strategy starts to falter then there is nothing in reserve. Use the magic five ways numbers and develop 5 strategies for each part, I have a list of 350 strategies to pick from and this is certainly not exhaustive.


  1. No Goals

What is your overall Goal for your marketing and what is the goal for each particular marketing strategy. If you don’t have a goal how will you know if you have been successful of not?


  1. No Budget

What is your budget? How can you create an un-limited marketing budget?

This brings up two important numbers that you need to know in your business.

Acquisition cost. How much do you need to spend to get each new customer? When you have established this you can then work out the profit contribution from the 1st sale and assess whether that covers the cost of the marketing and more. If it does this changes the effect of this from being a cost into being an investment. The second number is

Lifetime Value. Once you have gained a new customer on average how long do they stay as customers and what do they spend in the lifetime that they are a customer. What is the gross profit contribution from them?

Once you know these two numbers you can then make good decisions on how much to invest into your marketing budget and create a plan to get the right number of new customers into your business.

When you have found what works you can effectively create that un-limited budget.


  1. No Plan

Creating a marketing plan takes time and energy. The simplest plan would be just a calendar of events and that would be a start however what are your goals , what do you need to learn, what strategies are you going to start with and how are you going to build on this.

Bad news is that 80% of marketing doesn’t work so make sure you are measuring everything and test different headlines & offers.

Start with one strategy, get it working and build up to 10 different strategies for generating those new leads. The way modern marketing is working, what works today may stop working tomorrow so you do need to have several strands to the plan so that if one strategy dries up there are other that keep working.


  1. 100 not just 1 at a time.

Aim to attract 100 people not just for 1 at a time. This is about how you think about your marketing messages.

Marketing is about incoming enquiries, getting them to contact you as opposed to Sales which is where you go out to contact potential targets and generate sales.


  1. Wrong Targets

Hit the right target customers. Hone in on specific types or groups of people and how do you define and target them. Is it?

  1. High Concentration
  2. Profit or volume.
  3. What does your internal research tell you? Who are you best type of customer?
  4. External research. What are the gaps that I am missing?
  5. Wrong Offers

What is it that the target group really want to buy? Why emotionally do they want it? People buy the solution not the tool.

A young woman who is buying a sexy dress, isn’t buying a dress she’s really buying attention, boyfriends or even free drinks at the bar.

Of the three offers. A. ½ price , B. buy 1 get 1 free, and C. 50% off, we have found the

‘Buy 1 get 1 free’ gets a 50% better response than the other two.


  1. Wrong Copy, Words or Pictures

Test different headlines. ‘Here’s why………..’, ‘Now you can…..….’  ‘7 Reasons………….’

Google often send out free vouchers to try AdWords. Tip. Use these to test 7-10 different headlines and offers.

There is only one marketing genius and that is the customer so get over your ego and get testing


  1. Not Consistent

Don’t change for the sake of it. If you have something that’s working run it for ever or until it stops working. Just because you are bored with it doesn’t matter if it’s working. Build on that and add another layer.

We all know that people buy from people who they know, like & trust so keep that winning message going.


  1. Too Fancy & Brand Building

In the early stages of marketing concentrate on getting the headlines and messages right. Having a fancy logo and graphics is kind of irrelevant if people are not seeing you messages. You can always work on improving that at a later stage when you have created some profits to pay for it. Nobody is going to buy from you because you have a fancy logo.

Small businesses should not be brand building in their marketing. It’s about getting a response to your investment.

There is a science to marketing though and to be attuned to that will help.

I recall the old Adige, I like to treat people how I like to be treat myself. This is interesting as we use a communication style assessment tool that shows 4 distinct type of people, it’s called DISC.

D’s tend to be loud, pushy, abdicating hunters

I’s tend to be friendly, poor finishers but farmers

S’s tend to be consistent, stable, good finishers and are the workhorses of the world

C’s tend to not like people like lots of detail and have a need to be right in their decisions.

Using this science can be most useful in your marketing as you develop knowledge around this.


  1. No Content or Just Content

On social media

  1. Be social 50% social and 50% business
  2. Add value by helping people to understand
  3. Interact, comment back
  4. Sell softly by adding links to helpful information sources, preferably on your own website.
  5. No stories
  6. Get the storey of your company out there
  7. Get Testimonial, ratings and reviews on your pages and sites
  8. Make sure you ask for positive ratings & reviews from customers so that when an odd negative one comes in then it is balanced out.
  9. No Referrals

Getting referrals & new contacts through people who already know, like & trust you is the No.1 cost effective way of generating new business. There are several routes to this.

  1. Ask your existing customers.
  2. Use host beneficiaries to market on a reciprocal arrangement
  3. for strategic alliances with key contacts who share the same target markets as you.
  4. Piggy back on someone else’s database with an appropriate offer

I can recommend the book ‘Instant Referrals’ by Brad Sugars if you want to learn more about how you can generate more for your business.


  1. No Follow up

So many businesses fail to follow up after an initial enquiry.

Create a sales flow chart and include follow up, follow up, follow up. Analyse your performance and the performance of all the sales people in your team against the sales process checklist.

On average a person will say no 7 times before they buy.


  1. No Database

If you don’t have a database get one. Set up your CRM so that you can automate your marketing as much as possible. Send out reminders for birthdays, anniversaries and special occasions, seasons etc. that you can use as marketing opportunities.


  1. Over Promising

Over promise and under deliver it’s a KILLER

Under promise and over deliver all the time.


And as a bonus

  1. New Focus

Repeat business = Profit

If you’d like any more info or just a quick chat you can book a meeting with one of the team via the link below :

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